The Dark Side Of Facebook
The last twenty years have seen tremendous leaps in technology beyond what we could have ever imagined or predicted. Both technology and social media have become ubiquitous around the world and are continuing to grow at an unbelievable rate. Everywhere you look people are staring down at their phones or constantly checking updates, emails or messages. Yes, there are significant advantages to the type of life we lead now compared to one hundred years ago. I mean, how could you think otherwise when we have the entire wealth of human knowledge at our fingertips! It really is an amazing time we live in. But for all of our advancements in the past few years and all of the amazing accomplishments that have changed the nature of our generation, there is one aspect that I still struggle to understand.
When Facebook first started, people were so enamoured with the concept of being connected to their friends and having their own personal profile to display to the world. They could look up and reconnect with people they graduated with, chat and keep in touch with people who live long distances away. They could post ideas, pictures and status’ to their profile to let the world know what they were thinking and doing.
The early days of Facebook were innocent, simple and had the honest appeal of connecting with friends. That was it’s purpose. That’s why people signed up for Facebook. When I created my first Facebook profile, it was about me. My profile, my pictures, my posts. And I would check my newsfeed to see what all of my friends were doing and posting as well.
But today, Facebook has morphed into a different kind of entity all together. The culture of Facebook has changed. It’s purpose and the reasons we all flock to it have changed. People no longer post status’ about what they’re doing or where they’re going. There is no more simplicity and honesty about what gets posted. Facebook has now become an opinion forum. It’s a platform for comments, for opinions and for arguments. My newsfeed is now cluttered with controversial articles, opinionated news stories and contentious pictures and videos all posted with the sole aim of attracting attention and trying to make the post go ‘viral’.
There is a noticeable lack of social conscience about what gets posted online these days.
These articles and posts are meant to stir the pot. Their purpose is to catch your attention, to peak your interest and to rile you up from your place of complacency enough to react, to share or to comment. Their intent is to make you question and reflect on your values, your morals and your opinions. They are being shared with the intention of sparking an online debate. And people are falling into that trap like lemmings going over a cliff.
But what is most disturbing about the direction that social media has taken is not the articles, the videos, or the pictures. It’s the comments.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Facebook and social media presents a juicy platform for all of the morally despicable, racist, bigoted, sexist people out there to express their opinions without any thought of consequence.
You don’t need to be distinguished, educated, professional or even informed to engage in these online conversations. All you need is an opinion and a keyboard. There are no filters, no screening and no moral obligation to be polite or respectful of other people’s opinions. All too often these debates morph into an eruption of hate-filled, profanity laden insults directed at anyone who doesn’t share the same opinion.
Everything is laid out on the table and nobody cares if you are insulted, offended, hurt or indignant. These are the social justice warriors who remain anonymous, hiding behind their computer screens believing themselves to be the judge of humanity’s ethics and conscience.
While promoting one of his films that touches on this subject, Eli Roth – the popular American Actor, Director and Producer said “I see that a lot of people want to care and want to help, but in general I feel like people don’t really want to inconvenience their own lives. And I saw a lot of people just reacting to things on social media. These social justice warriors. ‘This is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong.’ And they’re just tweeting and retweeting. They’re not actually doing anything.”
It’s the sad reality of social media today. This is what it has become. Every single day when I read articles and comment threads, I’m sickened to my core by what I read. I wonder when we as a society have strayed so far from what is right, just and respectable. The question we must now ask ourselves is ‘has the advancement of technology and the introduction of social media caused us to change, or has it merely brought out what was already inside each of us?
Don’t get me wrong, Facebook isn’t all bad. Yes, these days people mostly focus on the negative, but there are upsides of Facebook as well. Upsides like being able to start or promote your business, connect with family and friends around the world or join groups of like minded people. Sometime’s you just have to think to yourself, is what I am posting/commenting/sharing valuable, positive or inspiring? If the answer is no, then you should probably shrug it off and move on.
Instead of posting/commenting/sharing the negative, do something worthwhile with your time. Get out there and support a cause. Make a difference, think for yourself and get informed on a subject you feel strongly about. Help to educate others in a polite, respectable, and non-judgemental way. Getting sucked in to the world of these online debates won’t do you any good. Leave all of the arguing and commentary to the social justice warriors.
Don’t be another lemming of Social Media.